Saturday, September 22, 2012

SDAIE Strategy

In teaching, seemingly more so than in other professions, there is a high turnover for key words, phrases, and strategies.  It could be due to negative associations or ever-changing ideals in educational philosophy.  I was unfamiliar with SDAIE, or Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English, until starting the credential program at CSUSM.  It is another name for sheltered instruction, which was something I had heard of, but in all honestly didn't know anything about.  At the heart of sheltered instruction and SDAIE is the focus on fostering English language learners' academic growth.

From our texts and lectures, I gather that most SDAIE strategies are considered not only beneficial for the English learners, but can also be successful techniques for students who speak English as their native language.  Think-pair-share, chunking, gallery walks, tea parties and group work are all examples that are considered to benefit all students.

I've tried very hard to come up with a few instances where I've observed a SDAIE strategy in use, but besides the activities we've participated in at CSUSM, I must be honest in saying that I haven't observed many of them used in a classroom so far.  For our math methods course, Professor Lawler had us observe a math class at High Tech High in San Marcos.  During the class, I suppose there was a form of Think-pair-share used.  The students thought to themselves about a specific math problem, then work together in a group of four, and finally shared their conclusions on a white board.  Other than that instance, I'd have to say most of my observations have been in more traditional classrooms where all the students faced forward and sat quietly as the teacher lectured.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Picturing Social Injustice

I wanted to take a photo of one of the many benchmark exams our district requires its students to take, but decided it was probably better not to post such a thing online for general access.  Instead, I posted an online resource referencing the academic benchmarks.  

I teach math.  Not English.  Math.  One of the beautiful things about math is that it has its own language.  English learners struggling to keep up in other subjects have the ability to excel in mathematics, that is, until we turn math into an English test.  The benchmark exams I've seen can be so wordy that large paragraphs dominate the first pages.  I am all for supporting word problems and real-life application of math, but these benchmarks seem to have gone overboard.  They have become reading comprehension tests, excluding English learners and low-level readers from excelling in a subject they otherwise might shine in.  

Math Student Survey

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Name

My last name is Julian. Well, actually it is my husband's name that I took when we were married. There had been some debate in his family about the name's origin -- where was it from and who brought it over?

Recently we found out the story. My husband's great-grandfather had immigrated from Sweden with the last name Larsson. When he arrived at Ellis Island, they told him something like "Oh no, we already have too many Larssons. From now on, why don't you go by...Mmmm...Julian."

That was the beginning of the Julian family. I'd heard stories of people having their names misspelled at Ellis Island, but a complete name change seemed a little strange. Why would the immigration clerk care? Well, now we all have a last name that many people comment on by asking "why do you have a first name for your last name?" Maybe it's time for another change?